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We all know that running a business can be stressful, so it is important to understand how our nervous systems are affected by the tasks and environments we put ourselves in. That’s why I want to introduce you to Dr. Amanda Chan and her incredible story about how she rebuilt her business with the help of understanding and managing the impact that stress has on her nervous system.
Amanda will share how she learned that pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional, and how to use different stress management techniques to reduce the long-term impact of stressors on her body. She has also implemented a 4-day workweek business model, which gives her more control over her time, energy and mental focus. Additionally, she will discuss how the power of breath can help to calm and reset the nervous system.
So, if you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed out while running your business, make sure to read through this blog post or listen to the full episode with Dr. Amanda Chan. She will provide insightful advice on how to interrupt patterns of stress, and show you that not all stressors are bad. Get ready to dive into an incredible conversation about how our nervous system affects our business!
📄 Video Transcription:
[00:00:00] Yvonne Heimann: Hello and welcome back to another episode of Boss Your Business. And today I am really, really excited because today we are not just talking about business, we are also talking about us, our brain, our nervous system, and all the fun stuff that is going on that we usually don’t get to see. And we just are like, what the hell is happening in my head?
[00:00:23] So everybody welcome Dr. Amanda. You are a chiropractor who focuses on neuro-optimization and your tools and strategies aim to help people regulate and optimize their nervous system. Now, Dr. Amanda, Amanda, Dr. Amanda, which one is better?
[00:00:41] Amanda Chan: Amanda’s fine.
[00:00:42] Yvonne Heimann: Amanda’s fine. We are not. We are not too businesslike today.
[00:00:47] I get to, get to just call you Amanda. Love that. Um, for everybody before we dive into how you got here, for everybody that might be new to the idea of fight and [00:01:00] flight and our nervous system and how our body reacts, um, can we start a little bit right in the beginning of, okay, when, when you say nervous system, what the hell are we talking about?
[00:01:11] Amanda Chan: Right?
The nervous system and how it reacts to stress
[00:01:12] So what I’m talking about is how your body essentially reacts to stress. To make it in simple terms, right? And are you reacting in a way that is useful? And for, let’s say for business, are you accessing the centers of your brain and of your, let’s say, intuition that will allow you to make the best decisions?
[00:01:33] Or are you coming from a state of fear? And trying to run away from something?
[00:01:39] Yvonne Heimann: So guys, if you feel like puking because you are somewhere on the edge of anxiety or panic attack, that’s your nervous system right there.
[00:01:46] Amanda Chan: Mm-hmm.
[00:01:48] Yvonne Heimann: Mm-hmm. Yeah, I, not that I know anything about that. Um, Amanda, so now that we got this little knowledge piece out of the way, how, how did you get [00:02:00] here?
[00:02:00] I am kind of assuming, no guys, I actually know you have been through multiple evaluations, multiple starting your business, starting your businesses over pivoting your businesses. How you run your life. You have been through different stages of that. So I always love to hear of how my guests got to where they are today.
[00:02:26] So what’s your story?
[00:02:28] Amanda Chan: Sure. So when I finished, I went to a chiropractic school that was, let’s say, the regular type of chiropractic that you might see. Mm-hmm. And when I started practice, I noticed that yes, there were a lot of people that were being helped, but not everybody. And I started to wonder why is it or how can we improve our rates for helping people?
[00:02:48] And what I observed is, although we took, did a great job with pain and for care for pain, um, and musculoskeletal pain, we didn’t take a look at the whole entire body, [00:03:00] the physical, emotional, mental side of spiritual side of a person. And to give you just a simple example of this, let’s say you’re shoveling the drive in, okay, I’m in Canada, so there’s lots of snow here.
[00:03:12] Let’s start with that. So let’s say you’re shoveling the driveway and you’re, you know, you’re lifting snow and your back goes out, right? Yes. I wanna know how much snow you were shoveling, what you were lifting, what your posture, your exercise, all the things have been like. I also wanna know, were you out there and you were thinking like, I hate my job, I hate my job, I hate my job.
[00:03:33] Yvonne Heimann: Ooh. That’s a whole nother shoveling then. Like, I love the snow. Let’s go skiing. Yeah.
[00:03:42] Amanda Chan: Yeah. Or what if you said, how come I’m the only one here help shoveling snow? How come no one else is, my family’s out here with me, right? And then your back goes out. Did you put in all those components into this?
[00:03:58] Yvonne Heimann: Guys, now you know why I [00:04:00] was excited about today’s episode. I never, the moment you said it, it makes complete sense to me because it’s a complete different shoveling. It’s a complete different during that. And if you are not taking care of the reason why you are angrily shoveling, you’re gonna continuously angrily shovel, and you’re gonna continuously angrily shovel hurting your back.
[00:04:26] Amanda Chan: For sure. Wow. And then you’re gonna always try and rehab the back, but never dealing with the anger that’s behind it.
[00:04:35] Yvonne Heimann: Damn. I knew this episode was going to get good. I knew it. I knew it. So, that’s where you started to see the need of, okay, we are, we are taking care of the body aspect of it, but we are not taking care of the mind aspect.
[00:04:53] What happened, what happened after that realization?
[00:04:56] Amanda Chan: So I had to find different techniques and different [00:05:00] strategies that may allow for more encompassing views of, of the body. And so I added, I learned things like breath work and yoga and, you know, meditation and, um, breathing exercises, right?
[00:05:15] So that we can help give people tools to figure out where, what is my body doing, but also what is my body trying to say to me in this moment?
[00:05:27] Yvonne Heimann: I love that. Um, so how has that impacted your own life, your own growth, and where your business was going, how your business grew, changed?
[00:05:40] Amanda Chan: Well, sometimes, you can be motivated to change, right?
[00:05:48] Mm-hmm. That’s one way to do it, right? And then sometimes fear or the universe or the powers that be, whatever you wanna call it, forces you to change.
[00:05:57] Yvonne Heimann: Ain’t that the truth?
[00:05:59] Amanda Chan: Yeah. [00:06:00] And so it’s a bit of both. There’s parts that we’re calling you need to let go of all the things that you thought to be true.
[00:06:10] And take a step into what you know to be true within you and what you believe intuitively is the right path for you. Um, but it’s going to cause, you know, losing relationships, losing, um, other connections, right? And losing things that you might not have been prepared to lose at that time.
[00:06:32] But in the long run, you will be following, um, your heart and in your, and your brain at the same time.
[00:06:40] Yvonne Heimann: Love that. So I know you pivoted a couple of times based on personal things, based on external. Could you share with my audience your business journey? How have the [00:07:00] last, I don’t even know, few years looked like from, what were those, what were those big struggles that got you and your business where you are today?
[00:07:08] What’s that story behind it?
[00:07:10] Amanda Chan: So I would say about five years into practice. So I’m about 15 years in, so I’m a season practitioner. Um, my worst fear was to lose my business overnight. You know everything you’ve built for, the literal blood, a sweat tears that you put into it, right? And it happened. I was locked out of my practice one day, so one day I had one, and the next day I had nothing.
[00:07:38] Yvonne Heimann: Damn. I was waiting for you to be like, yeah, but you know, it’s that irrational fear that all of us have and it nev, oh no, it hasn’t happened.
[00:07:47] Amanda Chan: It happened for me. And so, I had to reevaluate. Do I wanna continue? Right? Is this something I wanna do. If I did, I have to find a new place. I have to, you know, [00:08:00] restart from nothing.
[00:08:01] Everything I had. So what to do, right? Of course I started curled up in a ball going, why is this happening to me? And all the things, and, you know, ice cream was helpful at that time and you know, just evaluating what are my priorities still. Because they weren’t in order.
[00:08:24] Yvonne Heimann: So that, that brings me, I love the evaluation piece, but it also brings, and it also, making the same correction here. And it also brings up the question for me of when we get into this, it doesn’t have to be quite as impactful as losing your whole business, but we, we do experience these moments of why me? Why is this happening to me? What are some counterpoints? I’m like, for me personally, I take [00:09:00] usually about a day and I just, I just decide to just wallow in those emotions.
[00:09:04] Let’s give me a huge top of ice cream, a stupid show on tv, and I just feel through it. Are there some tips to work through it faster? Is there something when feeling those emotions does become more of a hindering and a holdback where you really should be snapping out of it? Is there, are there some tips you can help somebody when we get into this why me emotional rollercoaster?
[00:09:40] Amanda Chan: For sure. There’s a difference between feeling your emotions and then getting stuck in your emotions, right? Fully experiencing and feeling all your emotions are extremely important because then they’ll, if you don’t feel them, you can’t heal them, right? So feeling them is always a good thing.
[00:09:58] It’s the getting stuck in the [00:10:00] same emotions all the same time over and over and over again, that is tricky. And the difference I would say is, between pain and suffering. Pain is an not avoidable in life. We’re gonna hurt ourself. There’s gonna be relationships that come and go. Businesses that come and pain is not avoidable.
Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.
[00:10:20] It hurts, right? Hurt is gonna happen. You’re gonna even bump your knee at some point. Twist your ankle, whatever. Suffering is optional. Okay? And suffering is the story about the pain.
[00:10:34] Yvonne Heimann: It’s not the, I cut my finger. It’s the, I’m so freaking dumb. I did this and that. That’s why I cut my finger. Yes. Yeah.
[00:10:46] Amanda Chan: Right? So pain is losing my practice. Mm-hmm. Suffering is, why is this happening to me? How could I be so stupid? Like, how come you know all the things, right? Yeah. That you would, one would tell themselves. The pain is [00:11:00] temporary. The pain is going to be over. But the suffering, if you keep replaying that story, um, that’s where you get caught in it.
[00:11:08] Yvonne Heimann: So, as we know, because you were here, you decided to, to keep on going and rebuilt.
[00:11:16] Amanda Chan: Yes.
[00:11:17] Yvonne Heimann: I assume.
Rebuilding a business
[00:11:18] Amanda Chan: I did.
[00:11:18] Yvonne Heimann: How did that look like?
[00:11:20] Amanda Chan: It was easier than, because you don’t rebuild from nothing. You actually rebuild from the version of yourself, the identity of who you were. So in what took me five years to build, I rebuilt it in two months.
[00:11:35] Yvonne Heimann: Nice.
[00:11:37] Amanda Chan: Right, because I already had the skills. Yep. You never go back to zero is the thing. Mm-hmm. You always take the skills that you’ve had with you. Even starting a new business, you don’t ever start from scratch. You can already sell, you can already market. You’ve got all these skills that you’ve been working on and I was at this point, 5 years further in to being a practitioner.
[00:11:56] So I have five years more experience. Right. So it [00:12:00] isn’t starting from nothing is what I learned.
[00:12:04] Yvonne Heimann: And I assume that’s exactly what happened throughout a couple of other pivots that were happening. Um, I think you also mentioned Covid. It, it pretty much smacked all of us over the head and, uh, really just knowing, again, as you said, we are not starting from scratch.
[00:12:22] You’re farther ahead than you were before. And it’s just evaluating what do we want, what do we really want? And I’m assuming you agree there where that’s an internal decision and we just need to silence often the external being told what we should want or what this should look like.
[00:12:48] Amanda Chan: Yeah, you’re absolutely right. There is what everybody tells us and you know, it’s the well-meaning parents and friends and typically they haven’t ever owned a business before, [00:13:00] right? And they’re giving you the best tips and advice, and you’re like, but you haven’t been there. How would you know?
[00:13:07] Yvonne Heimann: And I think with, with that specific example, it’s not even just, you haven’t been where I’m at, it’s often enough also, your story is different than mine, especially with parents where it’s like they have their own limiting beliefs. They have their own experience. They have their own story, their own suffering in their head for, for a lack of better wording. Um, where it’s like, they don’t have our perception. They don’t have our emotions, they don’t have our growth, they don’t have our knowledge, so, falling back on them.
[00:13:44] And it’s like, especially parents, they want us to be safe. They want us to be able to pay our bills and have the life. Often enough parents want us to have the life they never had. So they are coming into this situation completely different than we are.
[00:13:58] Amanda Chan: Absolutely. [00:14:00]
[00:14:00] Yvonne Heimann: So with that, how are you running your business now?
Running a 4-day workweek business
[00:14:05] Because I know you are doing the whole four-day work week. You are taking Fridays off.
[00:14:12] Amanda Chan: Yes.
[00:14:13] Yvonne Heimann: You also get to, um, pick up the little one from school. The little ones, there’s an s at the end of the kids. Yeah. What, what allowed you to live this life of doing the four day work week, of picking up the kids of, of living life, how you wanted to live?
[00:14:32] Amanda Chan: Well, it went back to the greatest fear of losing the business and it happening, and I was like, wow. I spent, every moment, I had, literally again, blood, sweat, tears into this practice and I could rebuild it in two months. And I didn’t feel like I had any, not that I feel there are seasons of balance, but I had ignored all my priorities for so long.
[00:14:57] Like it doesn’t, you don’t go five years straight, right? [00:15:00] Like I didn’t take a vacation, anything. And so I needed more, right? And I decided, okay, now that I get to rebuild, things are gonna be from the way I’m gonna rebuild my business around my life. So what’s important in my life? Okay. Travel is important.
[00:15:20] Like even once a year getting away, great. Then that’s what happened. My children are young and I love spending time with them. They light up when I pick them up from school, you know, instead of taking the bus home, saves them another hour. Great. I’m gonna do that on, you know, within reason. So I do it two times a week for them.
[00:15:39] And Fridays, I was like, I need time for me, right? I like to get a massage. That’s part of my feeling, right? And I like doing, just having time for myself and while they’re at school. So that’s what I had to build in so that I could continue to serve to the best of my abilities in my practice. [00:16:00]
[00:16:00] Yvonne Heimann: So how have you built your offerings in your business to be able to run that kind of schedule and just build it around your life?
[00:16:08] Amanda Chan: Yeah, so I see people in a brick and mortar practice, and then I also shifted to online. So I do all my workshops online. I used to do them in person, and then people would have to come to the office. I’d have to close up. I wouldn’t get home till nine o’clock now. Thank you to Covid. I just go home, I tuck the kids out, put ’em to bed, kiss them goodnight, and then at eight o’clock I do my workshop and then I finish, and then I’m into my PJs, you know?
[00:16:36] And you build the the way that you know you can. And being online also allows you more reach, right? You can speak with anybody all over the world. Other people can attend the workshop. It doesn’t have to be just my community. And so you have more growth, too.
[00:16:55] Yvonne Heimann: Love that. So, coming back around to working with [00:17:00] our body and working with our nervous system, we already started diving a little bit into some of the, uh, tools and processes that you use to balance your body and take care of your mind throughout business because it, it always is a little bit of rollercoaster.
[00:17:15] It’s never just a straight line in business. So what can we do to get out of that fight or flight mode? Which I think a lot of entrepreneurs, especially when we start out, we in, we are in this fight or flight mode. We don’t know what we are doing. It’s a constant stressor. It’s a constant survival. What are some things we can do?
[00:17:37] Amanda Chan: Well, the number one question I like to ask is, is this a real or perceived threat? So there’s actually four, fight, flight, freeze and fawn response kick in in the, with the parasympathetic nervous system. And that’s when your body, simply put, is under stress. Mm-hmm. And so if you perceive your computer to be stressful, [00:18:00] the sales letter that you have to write to be stressful, the call that you need to be make to be stressful, then you’re gonna be kicking in one system.
[00:18:07] Your rest and digest system, the parasympathetic nervous system is gonna kick in, is it not even gonna be functioning to its best potential. And when you don’t have it functioning to the best, you don’t have access to higher thinking centers that you would need for business. Mm-hmm. Right. Like intuition.
[00:18:26] Yvonne Heimann: Yeah. Yeah. Like because when we are, when we are in that stress situation, you guys have probably experienced it, we are suddenly getting tunnel vision. It’s like you are, you are just focused on this one thing, on this fire in front of you, and there is no way of thinking out of the box, of accessing other areas of our weight.
[00:18:46] And you are literally just so focused on that stressor. So what are some, what are some practices after the, the question of, okay, is this, is this a perceived stressor or am I actually [00:19:00] chased by a bear? Once I clarified that in mind, I’m like, okay, seriously, Yvi, it’s, it’s really just an email. Just take a breather.
[00:19:08] Go over to ChatGPT, let them help you get it done. Get it off. Um, What are some, what are some practices we can do to not even get into that situation? Okay, we identified the stressor. We know it’s not a real stressor. How do we prevent this from coming up again? Because chances are, this might have been a habit of ours where it’s like every time I open up my email, it’s like, oh my God, I need to write an email again.
[00:19:38] There’s that stressor again. How is there a way we can reprogram this kind of reaction?
[00:19:46] Amanda Chan: Well, one of the simplest ways is just to observe your breath. Okay? So there’s different breath patterns, right? And if you are thinking, just watch the next time you’re stressed, right? What is your breath doing?
[00:19:58] It’s probably short and go [00:20:00] like, not hyperventilating, but some people hyperventilate, right? Mm-hmm. Or am I taking deep breaths? Right. Like in through the nose, out through the mouth, right? Or am I trying to like run in a race? Like depending on what your breath is, you can change it. You can purposely change it.
[00:20:19] So let’s say you’re breathing in through the nose, out through the mouth, you can be like, okay, I’m going to breathe in through my mouth, out through my nose, right? So that you have a different state. If you notice I’m going to the computer and I’m breathing, my heart rate is go increasing, my blood pressure is going up.
The impact of breath on the nervous system
[00:20:34] Okay, then what’s my breath doing and how can I breathe in a different way than what’s happening right now? And even that simple awareness will shift the situation.
[00:20:46] Yvonne Heimann: I love that. What are some other practices you would add to that to really just take care of our mind and our nervous system?
[00:20:56] Amanda Chan: So going for, you know, walks, exercise, [00:21:00] eating right, getting good sleep, right?
[00:21:02] Those have always been. Research improving that, that is gonna help keep you performing at your optimum, right? Um, but also stress isn’t always bad, right? We have stress that can propel you to make changes and to be a better version of yourself.
Not all stressors are bad
[00:21:20] Yvonne Heimann: Isn’t that the truth? Procrastinators out there.
[00:21:25] Amanda Chan: Absolutely.
[00:21:25] Yvonne Heimann: We might, we might, we might not wanna stress ourself quite as much, but that that timeline stress, there is some of the best creativity that sometimes happens just by that timer.
[00:21:39] Amanda Chan: For sure. So you want to, the more you put yourself in certain situations and you can calm yourself while you’re still there, the more you have practice at it, right?
[00:21:51] So it is to purposely put yourself in an uncomfortable situation so that that sales letter is not an uncomfortable position because you’ve done a [00:22:00] million of them, right? Once you’ve done over and over again 10 years of sales letters, then the next one is not gonna stress you out. It’s only because you’re trying to do the first few that is stressful, right?
[00:22:13] Yvonne Heimann: I love that. So, stepping out of your comfort zone. Doing the thing that’s uncomfortable. Paying attention to your breath. Then re just often enough for me, it’s like box breathing or I just take a moment, um, hack maybe even a meditation, five minute quick meditation or something. When I get really overwhelmed because this needs to be done and that and here, and it’s that overwhelmed stage.
How to interrupt patterns of stress
[00:22:40] I literally just go for a walk. I have the perfect property here. Walk a little circle and just move the body. So like Amanda said, literally just get yourself out of that pattern you were in in that moment. It’s a pattern interrupt. It’s a snapping out if that is moving your [00:23:00] body, which you should do no matter what.
[00:23:02] Believe me, guys, if I don’t do my exercises, my brain is freaking insane. And when you are in a situation like that, really just interrupt that pattern. Go for a quick walk. Go, go change your breathing. Go. Just snap yourself out of this. Now, you told me you have a lot of these kind of tips, a lot of these kind of trainings on your Instagram Reels.
[00:23:30] I know you’re doing a lot of Reels and trainings in there. Um, where else can people find you? Where can people connect with you to really dive deeper into this idea of our nervous system connecting with our business?
[00:23:43] Amanda Chan: So my website’s the best because that’s where I have all my workshops listed.
[00:23:47] Yvonne Heimann: Perfect.
[00:23:48] Amanda Chan: And so OptimizeMyHealing.com is where you can find me, and they’re all free.
[00:23:56] Yvonne Heimann: Damn guys. You did hear that. A whole bunch of free [00:24:00] trainings. You know where I will be spending my weekend because this is one of my journeys right now of really resetting my nervous system. There’s a whole bunch of old stories that are stuck in me that need to be taken care of.
[00:24:11] So guys, make sure you go check out Dr. Amanda’s website and her Instagram. The links will be in the show notes as always. Thank you so much for joining me. I know I will be stalking here soon and I will be in your Instagram messages. You just got yourself another fan girl over here.
[00:24:32] Amanda Chan: Thank you so much.
[00:24:33] Yvonne Heimann: Thank you. Bye everybody.
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